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Wish had magic wand to complete Security Council reform: says President of 76th session of UNGA Abdulla Shahid

Presidency of Hope is also about respecting the rights of all and revitalising the United Nations. We need an organisation that is fit for purpose and tuned up with the times we are living in", Abdulla Shahid said.

By: PTI | United Nations |
September 15, 2021 1:52:55 pm
Abdulla ShahidIn this photo provided by United Nations, Abdulla Shahid, left, pounds the gavel signaling his start as the new president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, accompanied by Secretary-General António Guterres at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Evan Schneider/United Nations via AP)

President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid has said he wished he had a “magic wand” to complete the Security Council reform and expressed hope that the UN members will take this process seriously as he began his “presidency of hope” of the 193-nation body.

Shahid, the Maldivian Foreign Minister, was elected as the President of the 76th session of the UNGA on July 7 this year.

“I wish I had the magic wand to cast and change the Security Council and complete the Security Council reform. As a matter of fact, in 1979, the Maldives joined a group of 10 countries to propose the inclusion of an agenda item on the Security Council, and I’m very proud that the Maldives was among the first 10 countries that initiated this,” Shahid said.

“However, as President, I do not have that magic wand. But I hope that the members would take this process seriously,” he said during a press interaction in response to a question by PTI on what substantial outcome can be expected on the Security Council under his presidency.

He said he will appoint co-facilitators for the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) early on so that they and the UN membership “would have more time to work on, and I wish them all the best.”

As the General Assembly in June decided to roll over the IGN work to the 76th UNGA session, India had said the IGN on the long-pending Security Council reforms can no longer be used as a smokescreen.

The UNGA’s decision to roll over the IGN work to the next session also included the amendment proposed by the G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan), which have been at the forefront of multilateral efforts to speed up and achieve the long-pending UNSC reforms.

The G4 nations proposed amendments to the draft Oral Decision to include the lines “(…) and the commitment of Heads of State and Government representing the peoples of the world to ‘instil new life in the discussion of the reform of the Security Council'”.

“I have said on several previous occasions that the IGN can no longer be used as a smokescreen. Today, with this amended roll-over decision, we will move ahead to the next session with the hope that we will finally be able to come together to make decisive progress towards the long-overdue reform of the Security Council,” Permanent Representative of India to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti had said.

Tirumurti had said that by agreeing to include “our leaders’ promise to ‘instil new life’ in our roll-over decision, we are re-affirming once more that what we are engaged in, in the IGN, is not simply a series of academic debates. Our mandate is to deliver on Security Council reform, not to just discuss it ad infinitum.”

In his remarks to the press after taking over as President of the 76th session of the General Assembly, Shahid said his “Presidency of Hope is also about respecting the rights of all and revitalising the United Nations. We need an organisation that is fit for purpose and tuned up with the times we are living in.”

At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any substantive resolution. There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.

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